Urban sustainability experts from different parts of the globe proclaimed Pasig City as the Philippine National Capital of the 2017-2018 edition of World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) One Planet City Challenge (OPCC). A biennial global challenge, the competition gives recognition to cities that are continuously developing infrastructure, housing, transport, and mobility solutions toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. Pasig City won the competition out of 133 cities from 23 countries.
Pasig City's solid and comprehensive actions to reduce carbon emissions, particularly its plans to reduce traffic emissions and congestions, and targeted actions toward renewable energy and energy efficiency. These initiatives ideally reflected the sustainable transport and mobility theme of the challenge, making Pasig eligible for the Global OPCC Prize, set to be awarded in September. The contest jury also praised the city's strong community engagement and initiatives toward cleaning the Pasig River, which remains aligned with reducing emissions.
Seven other cities in the country, namely Batangas, Catbalogan, Makati, Paranaque, San Carlos, Tagum, and Zamboanga were also qualified to join the competition. Makati, Pasig, and San Carlos became national finalists and took part in the We Love Cities global campaign from May 7 until the end of June 2018.
Jakarta bagged the top plum in the We Love Cities campaign, a social media contest aiming to inspire and engage citizens for support, votes, and ideas for improvement. Pasig came in second.
Kicked off in 2011 as the Earth Hour City Challenge, the OPCC puts emphasis on the crucial role of cities in pushing the transition toward a low-carbon and sustainable future. Since then, over 400 countries from five continents have heeded the call to promote sustainability. The Philippines began joining the Challenge in the 2015-2016 run.
OPCC's awarding ceremony for the national winner, finalists, and qualifiers was held at the Marco Polo Ortigas as part of WWF-Philippines's two-day workshop titled One Planet Cities: Raising Climate Ambitions and Sustainability Actions for 1.5 Celsius. The workshop gathered cities from all over the country to discuss ways in which they can collaborate to meet the Paris Agreement's goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 Celsius.
Insights from panelists coming from different sectors steered the discussion on LGU's compliance with the local government units, especially in the urban setting. Challenges being faced by both the national government and the cities in the implementation of their LCCAPs were also mapped out with the help of workshop facilitators from WWF-Philippines.